My wife read somewhere that there’s a “cool” zoo just beside Tiendesitas. A zoo beside Tiendesitas is a bit strange because aside from the fact that Tiendesitas is a place to shop and eat, it’s beside a mall (SM). Also, I regularly pass through the Malabon City zoo, just behind Potrero elementary school along McArthur Highway (that’s a few meters from Monumento, Caloocan), but I never had the desire to go in a zoo, and I’m not really sure if it’s proper to qualify a “zoo” with being cool. The Ark Avilon Zoo beside Tiendesitas (sister zoo of Avilon Zoo, Rizal) made me rethink that.
We parked in front of Tiendesitas, which, at first, wasn’t a good idea because there’s some walking to do towards the Avilon Zoo. I grabbed the first parking slot available because I didn’t know if there are parking spaces right in front of the zoo (yes, there are). Still, the choice of parking turned out perfect because we ended up eating at Tiendesitas, which means we were near where we parked. Anyway, any parking-related stress soon vanished when we saw, and got in, the Ark Avilon.
[See also the Avilon Zoo in Rodriguez, Rizal.]
It was a crisp sunny day, and it would have really helped a lot if the weather was at least overcast, so that we could approximate how Noah (or Evan Almighty) felt when he went in his ark. To get in Ark Avilon, you either pay P200 per head (for 1 year-old kids and above) or help build the next ark (kidding about building the ark).
There were crocodiles, although I’m not really sure if they’re alligators. The Animal Channel made me realize that crocodiles are technically different from alligators, but thankfully I need not explain that to my two-year old son who’s the primary reason why I decided to drag my butt out of the couch and go to the Ark Avilon Zoo. There are tortoises and turtles, but it’s not really hard to tell which is which. Then there’s sushi, I mean, different kinds of fish — huge ones, I must say.
There are exotic birds. How do I know they’re exotic, you ask? Let’s see. Palawan Hornbill, Luzon Tarictic Hornbill, Egyptian Goose, Violet Touraco, Nicobar Pigeon and Helmeted Guineafowl.
The hard-to-pronounce names alone made me conclude they’re exotic, not that it matters anyway. The zoo also allows visitors to handle eagles, in the same way that the kids are allowed to ride the donkey and play with the rabbits.
It was my first time to see a chameleon and it was pleasantly surprising to find one beside me — while I was buying hotdog sandwiches and beverage. After the attendant handed me the bottle of water, he held out a cricket, dangled it in front of the chameleon, then whap. It’s gone. The cricket, I mean, and not the chameleon, which, of course, could change colors to hide itself. It was Animal Planet in the flesh.
Then there are the snakes. I’m not really fond of snakes and there’s quite a few that I’ve gunned down or hacked to death with a bolo. I’d hold a dead snake only by the tail, which is because I’d rather shoot them from a distance than hold them. Then I saw the yellow snake and, as images of sexy models with snakes around their sexy bodies flash through my (innocent) mind, I couldn’t resist the temptation of not having my photo taken with them. The snakes, l mean. Besides, I have to show my son, Enzo, that his father could handle snakes.
I’m really having a hard time selecting which photos to include in this blog. There’s just to many of them and there’s too little aloted space for this blog. There’s a lion, with the tigers, pumas, orangutans, bears and other animals, the names of which I should have written down so I won’t forget. Perhaps you could do that for me when you go there. I chose the colorful and more majestic tiger over the sleeping lion and the rest of the others.
It’s a bit hot at the Avilon Zoo, so better dress accordingly. Just beside Avilon Zoo is the Fun Ranch (website), which is perfect to complete my son’s day out. There are rides, but not really like those in the Enchanted Kingdom. It’s just enough to keep the little ones preoccupied, but I must say that the zoo should be the main destination.
Beside the Fun Ranch is Tiendesitas. Here, you could shop in bazaar-type outlets. There’s an open food court, which includes products under the One Town, One Product (OTOP) program of the government. You may want to support this project. I suggest Tita Lynn’s Flavored Suman, with its great tsokolate and coffee.
*How to get there? Ark Avilon Zoo, Fun Ranch and Tiendesitas are located along Ortigas Avenue Extension corner C5, Pasig City. It’s near Eastwood City, Libis and the Ortigas Center. See map and directions.